Goals: To determine the ability of magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) to diagnose the level and cause of obstruction in patients with obstructive jaundice.
Background: The limitations of available imaging modalities have led to the increasing use of MRCP, which is a noninvasive and highly accurate technique in evaluating patients with biliary obstruction.
Study: Thirty patients were included in this study. MRCP was done using a fat suppressed, heavily T2 weighted fast spin echo sequence. The MRCP findings were confirmed on surgical exploration or clinical follow-up.
Results: MRCP could correctly identify ductal dilatation and the level of obstruction in all cases, except one. All causes of obstruction, except three, were detected. It failed to detect a common bile duct calculus in a minimally dilated ductal system and misdiagnosed a case of focal chronic pancreatitis as carcinoma head pancreas and a small pancreatic head mass as cholangiocarcinoma. It had a sensitivity of 94.44%, specificity of 81.81%, positive predictive value of 89.47%, and negative predictive value of 90% for the detection of malignant causes. The overall diagnostic accuracy for detection of level and cause of obstruction was 96.3% and 89.65%, respectively.
Conclusion: The high diagnostic accuracy of MRCP in evaluating patients with obstructive jaundice indicates that it has the potential to become the diagnostic modality of choice in such patients.